January 7, 2017
Oscar Pemantle a renown professor of political science and his non profit Institute for Active Learning www.instituteforacivelearning.org formed a partnership with UP^ our mentoring program to improve how we teach youth and adults seeking to enhance their earning potential.
Oscar Pemantle having done graduate work in economics and political science at Yale University, Oscar went on to study political science and teach at UC Berkeley, found and direct the once prestigeous Black Pine Circle School, organize a statewide conference of teachers and administrators in Lincoln, Nebraska with then Governor Bob Kerrey, and publish numerous, well-received articles on education.
Oscar is presently finishing (or working on) the third of a set of three controversial articles commenting on the state of the educational debate today. There are also planned for publication in Spain and Latin America as part of an “Inter-American Conversation” designed to reach our Hands Across the Border.
He is currently working on a set of three books on the nature, history and meaning of the culture war in education:
1. Who Killed Education (Completed)
2. A Flight Through Time (In Progress)
3. The Eureka Syndrome: A Handbook for Teachers and Students (In Progress)
UP^ To Promote Active Learning or Socratio Teaching
Let us invite you into a classroom where something remarkable is happening. The atmosphere is excited, electric, as if a phase change had occurred. The students are bubbling with ideas and questions. They respond to and stimulate each other’s conjectures. The teacher doesn’t talk much but seems in rapport with each student. He often answers a question with another question, but one which opens up new perspectives. You become caught up in the enthusiasm and offer a few ideas of your own, which are responded to with interest. Suddenly you find yourself grasping the topic in a clearer and more meaningful way than you ever thought possible. The thought occurs to you: “Why couldn’t I have been in a class like this when I was in school?”
Such a “good class” might seem to be a rare phenomenon, a state of grace perhaps attributable to the fortunate combination of an inspired teacher and gifted students. Yet our experience has shown that that there are approaches and techniques which will enable teachers to quickly increase the odds that good classes will occur, day after day, and with the normal mix of students.
This method of awakening the mind is known as Socratic, or Discovery Teaching.
Socratic Teaching creates a classroom atmosphere which encourages and employs the most effective, creative, and adaptable form of learning: the exploratory excitement of minds inquiring together. At a time when vast sums are being spent on the education of our children, many of whom continue to see school as a boring place, the socratic approach has the ability to turn things around at comparatively little cost. The good class may then become much more common and many students may gain a lifelong love of learning.